All photos by Abner Kingman and WTB
The tire arena is a tough category indeed. It's a very crowded field and riders tend to establish favorites and stick with them forever. Old tires like the Panaracer Fire XC, WTB Weirwolf, Kenda Nevegal are iconic and riders seek them out to this day.
These days, aggressive all-mountain tires dominate the airwaves as riders seek to branch out beyond their cross-country roots. "If you aren't racing, then what are you doing with tires that have no grip or puncture protection?" asks Mark Weir.
Today, WTB launched three new tires, the brand new Judge, the redesigned Vigilante, and Trail Boss. Aside from new, aggressive tread patterns we'll describe below, they all have new construction with Tritec, WTB's new three-layer rubber construction. Three layers allow WTB not only to have gummy cornering knobs and faster-rolling center knobs but also a base layer to provide stability and structure beneath the knob pattern.
Light and Tough casings are available in High Grip or Fast Rolling options. High Grip casing feature 48 durometer for the center knobs and 42 for the side knobs. Fast Rolling is stiffer at 60 durometer down the middle and 48 on the sides. The new tires all have a folding bead and are available in 27.5 or 29. All these tires will use 60tpi thread casing to deliver puncture resistance.
Silver Mountain Bike Park in Idaho
Our host Clayton Wangbichler of WTB was born and raised in Idaho and he wanted to showcase his home state in the launch of these new tires. Looking for the best aggressive terrain, he asked his trusted contacts about the best destination and they all replied "Silver Mountain Bike Park in Kellog, Idaho." We'll post another story about this venue but we'll just tease you that we think it's one of the best bike parks in the US today. All the photos you'll see here are from the Silver Mountain location.
Judge 2.4 - $77 to $80
As a statement tire for how riders are progressing these days, WTB came out with the Judge. It is a burly, rear-specific tire but we can see it being used in the front too. It has massive, supported knobs designed to corner and brake with little compromise.
It kind of looks like a Minion that pumped a lot of iron. Tires are often a compromise between pedaling efficiency and descending performance and this tire, though not a downhill tire went to the descending end of the spectrum.
27.5 for sure and hurrah for WTB for offering it in 29er right away as well.
The Vigilante 2.5 and 2.6 - $68 to $80
The Vigilante tire gets a revamp first and foremost addressing the lacking max width of the previous model at 2.3. Now it is available in an honest 2.5 and 2.6 size, designed to work with 29mm wide rims.
The tread pattern still looks reversed, but don't worry as it really works. The side knobs are bigger and better supported now allowing for better cornering. Siping is present all around delivering extra grip in specific directions. And the center knobs are more widely spaced now to allow the tire to dig in better (and not float) on very loose conditions.
The Vigilante which is better as a front tire is available in 27.5in and 29in diameters, is available in all casing options - light, tough, grip, fast. Pick two.
The Trail Boss 2.4 and 2.6 - $68 to $80
The Trail Boss tread pattern is similar to the previous model but the sizes available now are 2.4 and 2.6. Everybody loves that 2.6 option it seems as it allows room to grow in to if conditions call for it. Bikes are largely compatible with it now and there's no need for Plus accommodations.
Tire height has been increased as the knobs are now 1mm taller all around. Outer knobs have been beefed up and the tread pattern has been opened up a bit. In addition, the transition knobs have been placed well to avoid a gap from center to side knobs, allowing most riders to commit to the tire and the corner.
Mark Weir said that they can make amazing tires for the pro riders but they have developed an awareness to design for the normal enthusiast rider. They allow them to ride, learn and be safe as they learn to work with the tire in a corner.
Light and tough casing options are available but this is available in the fast rolling tire compound only.
Some actual weights:
Vigilante 2.5 27.5" TCS Light/High Grip
Vigilante 2.5 29" TCS Light/High Grip
Trail Boss 2.4 27.5" TCS Tough/Fast Rolling
Trail Boss 2.4 29" TCS Tough/Fast Rolling
Judge 2.4 27.5" TCS Tough/Fast Rolling
For more info roll over to www.wtb.com/collections/tires-1.